Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Like Fairfax County, GMU reports median household income down around the Metro DC area since 2009

Last week, we published an article showing that the Fairfax County real median household income has stagnated, if not declined slightly, in recent years and looked how it might change in the future.   Now we learn from GMU Center for Regional Analysis that the decline we reported from 2008 in Fairfax has been pretty much the same across the metropolitan Washington area.  Here's how GMU CRA starts its short report:
Between 2009 and 2013, the median household income in the Washington Metropolitan Area (WMA) decreased after adjusting for inflation, to $90,149 from $92,436, a 2.5 percent decline. This was primarily driven by a decrease in earnings from employment, which is the largest component of household income. In 2013, the median annual earnings level for WMA resident workers was $49,810, which was $2,130 below the 2009 level of $51,940, representing a 4.1 percent decrease. This decline resulted from several factors, including: an increased share of part-time workers, growth in lower-wage industries, and a decrease in median earnings in ten of the 16 industry groups in the region.
This graphic from the GMU CRA report shows that, in fact, workers in most industries, including the three industries with the largest increase in employment  (leisure & hospitality, health services, and retail trade), saw a decrease in their real income:

Click here to read the full 10-page paper.  

UPDATE:  In addition to this analysis, GMU CRA also has recently documented that the decline in the Washington area's per capita income was the third worst among the nation's major metropolitan areas. 

While GMU CRA does not venture to forecast how these trends might look in the future, it suggests a shift in regional (and probably Fairfax County) employment we had not considered in our earlier paper that will likely further aggravate the downward trend in area real household incomes. 

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